Downs and Another v Chappell and Another: CA 3 Apr 1996

The plaintiffs had suceeded in variously establishing claims in deceit and negligence, but now appealed against the finding that no damages had flowed from the wrongs. They had been sold a business on the basis of incorrect figures.
Held: Where a plaintiff has been induced to enter into a transaction by a misrepresentation, whether fraudulent or negligent, he is entitled to recover as damages the amount of the (consequential) loss which he has suffered by reason of entering into the transaction. The principle is the same. Where the representation relates to the profitability and, by necessary inference, the viability of the business, the plaintiff can recover both his income and his capital losses in the business.
‘Causation and the assessment of damages is a matter of fact. In a misrepresentation case, where the plaintiff would not have entered into the transaction, he is entitled to recover all the losses he has suffered, both capital and income, down to the date that he discovers that he had been misled and he has an opportunity to avoid further loss. The diminution in value test will normally be inappropriate. Where what is bought is a business the losses made in the business are prima facie recoverable as is the reduction in the value of the business and its premises. Foreseeable market fluctuations are not too remote and should be taken into account either way in the relevant account. These cases do not however discuss whether there is any question of causation beyond the no-transaction test. In my judgment it may still be necessary to consider whether it can fairly and properly be said that all the losses flowing from the entry into the transaction in question were caused by the tort of the defendant. ‘

Butler-Sloss, Roch, Hobhouse LJJ
[1996] EWCA Civ 1358, [1996] 3 All ER 344, [1996] CLC 1492, [1997] 1 WLR 426
England and Wales
CitedDoyle v Olby (Ironmongers) Ltd CA 31-Jan-1969
The plaintiff had been induced by the fraudulent misrepresentation of the defendant to buy an ironmonger’s business for 4,500 pounds plus stock at a valuation of 5,000 pounds. Shortly after the purchase, he discovered the fraud and started the . .
CitedEsso Petroleum Company Ltd v Mardon CA 6-Feb-1976
Statements had been made by employees of Esso in the course of pre-contractual negotiations with Mr Mardon, the prospective tenant of a petrol station. The statements related to the potential throughput of the station. Mr Mardon was persuaded by the . .
CitedCounty Personnel (Employment Agency) Ltd v Alan R Pulver and Co (a Firm) CA 1987
The claimant sought damages after his negligent solicitors had saddled him with a ruinous underlease. They had had to buy themselves out of the lease. The court considered the date at which damages were to be calculated.
Held: The starting . .
CitedHayes and Another v Dodd CA 7-Jul-1988
The court considered what damages might be paid for inconvenience and distress. . .
CitedNaughton v O’Callaghan 1990
Damages Award to Restore Plaintiff’s Poistion
In 1981 the plaintiffs had bought a thoroughbred yearling colt called ‘Fondu’ for 26,000 guineas. In fact a mistake had been made and its pedigree was not as represented. Its true pedigree made it suitable only for dirt track racing in the United . .
CitedLivingstone v Rawyards Coal Co HL 13-Feb-1880
Damages or removal of coal under land
User damages were awarded for the unauthorised removal of coal from beneath the appellant’s land, even though the site was too small for the appellant to have mined the coal himself. The appellant was also awarded damages for the damage done to the . .
CitedThe United Motor Finance Company v Messrs Addison and Company Limited PC 10-Dec-1936
(Madras) ‘Nor can they [the dealers] modify the resulting damages on the footing that though in the absence of misrepresentation the plaintiff firm [the finance company] would not have made the contract with the defendants [the dealers] or with the . .
CitedPhillips v Ward CA 1956
A negligent survey had been provided to prospective purchasers of a house. It would have cost andpound;7,000 to put the property into the condition in which it had been described in the report.
Held: The correct measure of damages was not . .
CitedPerry v Sidney Phillips and Son CA 1982
In 1982 the surveyor failed to observe serious defects, including a leaking roof and a septic tank with an offensive smell. The plaintiff purchaser could not afford major repairs and executed only minor repairs himself. At the date of the trial the . .
CitedJohnson v Agnew HL 1979
The seller had obtained a summary order for specific performance of a contract for the sale of land against the buyer.
Held: The breach was continuing and was still capable of being remedied by compliance with the order for specific . .
CitedBanque Bruxelles Lambert Sa v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd and Others CA 24-Feb-1995
The plaintiffs were mortgagees. The defendants were valuers. The defendants negligently over-valued properties and the plaintiffs then accepted mortgages of the properties. Later the property market collapsed and the various borrowers defaulted and . .
CitedWatts and Co v Morrow CA 30-Jul-1991
The plaintiff had bought a house on the faith of the defendant’s report that there were only limited defects requiring repair. In fact the defects were much more extensive. The defendant surveyor appealed against an award of damages after his . .
CitedEast v Maurer CA 1991
The plaintiffs had bought a hair dressing salon from the defendant, who continued to trade from another he owned, despite telling the plaintiffs that he intended not to. The plaintiffs lost business to the defendant. They invested to try to make a . .
CitedJohnson v Agnew HL 1979
The seller had obtained a summary order for specific performance of a contract for the sale of land against the buyer.
Held: The breach was continuing and was still capable of being remedied by compliance with the order for specific . .
CitedCorporation of Sheffield v Barclay and Others HL 3-Jul-1905
Lord Davey said: ‘I think that the appellants [Sheffield Corporation] have a statutory duty to register all valid transfers, and on the demand of the transferee to issue to him a fresh certificate of title to the stock comprised therein. But, of . .
CitedDodd Properties (Kent) Ltd v Canterbury City Council CA 21-Dec-1979
The defendants had, in the course of building operations, caused nuisance and damage to the plaintiff’s building. The dispute was very lengthy, the costs of repair increased accordingly, and the parties now disputed the date at which damages fell to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.567829